Art & Illusion – The Definitive Edition

Art and Illusion

Line up: Andy Revell, Brian Devoil, Clive Mitten,
Rick Battersby, Andy Sears

Recorded: 1984

Disc 1

  1. Counterpoint (5:57)lyrics
  2. Art & Illusion (3:51)lyrics
  3. C.R.A.B. (4:34)
  4. Kings And Queens (5:43)lyrics
  5. First New Day (5:53)lyrics
  6. Blue Powder Monkey (7:22)lyrics
  7. Blondon Fair (5:34)lyrics
  8. Take A Look (11:59)lyrics
  9. Counterpoint (alternate) (5:59)
  10. C.R.A.B. (alternate) (3:56)
  11. Kings And Queens (alternate) (5:52)
  12. Take A Look (alternate) (4:31)

Disc 2

  1. The Ceiling Speaks (live) (6:50)
  2. Kings And Queens (live) (5:39)
  3. We Are Sane (live) (11:05)
  4. Blondon Fair (live) (5:23)
  5. Creepshow (live) (11:38)
  6. Fact And Fiction (live) (3:44)
  7. First New Day (live) (5:47)
  8. Take A Look (live) (12:14)
  9. Art & Illusion (live) (3:42)
  10. East Of Eden (live) (3:04)
  11. Sequences (closing section) (live) (2:59)
  12. Love Song (live) (5:37)

Our second Definitive Edition was Art and Illusion, the first album we recorded with new vocalist Andy Sears, originally released on LP in October 1984.

As with Smiling at Grief, this is a 2 x CD expanded version consisting of the original album, contemporary demos, and live material, including the first ever released version of Andy singing East of Eden.

It has some absolutely fantastic new artwork, which has been completely reworked / re-interpreted by Paul Tippett at Vitamin P (with help from our own in-built creative, Senor Sears). All the lyrics have been lavishly illustrated with some stunning images, and there are brand new sleevenotes from Andy Sears, Mark Hughes and Andy Wild.

Disc 1, tracks 1-5 recorded 14-30 August 1984, Amazon Studios, Liverpool. Produced by Gil Norton. First released on Art & Illusion, October 1984. Music for Nations MFN 36. Tracks 6-8 recorded May 1984, Granny’s Basement, Fulham. Produced by Twelfth Night. First released on Art & Illusion (CD reissue), 2003. Cyclops CYCL 132. Tracks 9-12 recorded July/August 1984, Matinee Studios, Reading. Produced by Twelfth Night. First released on Art & Illusion (CD reissue), 2003. Cyclops CYCL 132.

Disc 2, tracks 1 & 7 recorded at the University of Marburg, West Germany, 10 November 1984. Tracks 2, 4 & 8 recorded at the Dominion Theatre, London, 6 November 1984. Tracks 3 & 12 recorded at Sheffield University, 29 October 1984. Tracks 5 & 6 recorded at Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, 25 October 1984. Track 9 recorded at the Pavilion, Hemel Hempstead, 23 October 1984. Tracks 10 & 11 at the City Hall, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 31 October 1984. Tracks 6, 9 and 12 taken from the CD “Night Vision: Art & Illusion Tour”, released in 2006. All others previously unreleased.

Extracts from Play On – the official biography of Twelfth Night, written by Andy Wild.

In August 1984 the band travelled to Amazon Studios in Liverpool to begin the recording process. Gil Norton, who had co-produced Echo and the Bunnymen’s 1984 album Ocean Rain at the same studios, was brought in to produce the album.

“Working with a producer for the first time meant we started looking at the songs during the recording process, taking apart and reassembling,” Brian told Soundcheck magazine in October 1984. “Gil was very much a musician’s producer”, says Andy Sears. “He knew what we wanted, and how to get the best performances out of us in a very positive way.” Andy Revell: “Gil brought a hard, bright, contemporary edge to our sound. Our songs have never been fluffy or even particularly comfortable in their meaning and I liked the fact that our sound had a harder edge, too.”

Only five pieces, running to just 26 minutes in total, were recorded for the original album: a deliberate strategy. Three new compositions, Counterpoint, First New Day and Kings and Queens joined the older song, Art & Illusion, which had been in the live set for 18 months. C.R.A.B., a short instrumental that had been performed for several years as part of a longer piece, Entropy, completed the track listing. Three major new songs, Blue Powder Monkey, Blondon Fair and Take a Look were held back for future release, although all three songs remained in the band’s live set.

Soon after its release in October 1984, Art & Illusion reached no. 83 in the national album chart. It is, to date, the only entry the band has got in the Guinness Book of Hit Singles and Albums. Both the album and the tour received good reviews too, with most reviewers applauding the move to writing shorter, more commercial songs.

This new expanded Definitive Edition of Art & Illusion includes the original 5-song mini-album, plus three different tracks demoed in May 1984 that would probably have appeared on a full-length album, and the four demos recorded in Reading just before the Amazon sessions.